There were no more than 19,000 fans booing Sydney Crosby or going crazy during a massive third spell.
But the pilots made a fun night against the penguins for their fan base eager to watch them at home. By showing the well-publicized depth and using the third-period attack, the Pilots ended up directing the penguins, 6-3, in the opening match of the regular season 2020-21 at Wells Fargo Center.
Joel Farabi showed his candidacy for the 2018 draft by scoring a goal and three assists to lead the Flyers to their fifth straight season opener win. The Flyers beat the opponent 24-13 in those last five holes.
James Van Rimsdick, Nolan Patrick, Michael Ravel, Travis Konikney and Kevin Hayes also scored goals.
If any Flyers fan misses this, they have seven more Pittsburgh matches to make up for it.
• Throughout the training camp, the Flyers have expressed their enthusiasm in depth and what that might mean for their chances of a deep, deep deciding round.
So far, it wasn’t all talk.
Twelve different players scored a point Wednesday and ambushed the Penguins right after Pittsburgh leveled the match, 3-3, just over three minutes after the final clip.
Sean Couturier, Claude Giroud and Jacob Vorak finished twice and that was fine.
Konecny and Hayes froze the game.
Much of the hype around the pilots’ depth revolves around Patrick’s return.
After missing the entirety of last season due to a migraine disorder, Patrick gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead in the first half with a strong play goal. It was his first National Hockey League match in over 650 days and his first goal since March 9, 2019.
You could imagine one feels good about the 22-year-old.
Patrick won eight team-wide showdowns and provided intense play in the first period, which ultimately resulted in the first opportunity and goal to play the pilots.
• When trying to identify potential Flyers nominees this season, Farabee is near the top of the list.
Farabi gained valuable experience last year in a chaotic junior season in the first round selection of 2018. He came to the training camp stronger and more confident.
„He’s looking great, he’s gained some weight, he’s working out his muscles,“ Jiro said.
The 20-year-old winger made his first four-point match in his career. He had no more than two points in last season’s game.
His goal gave the pilots a 3–2 lead in the second break. Farabee, a smart and strategic playmaker, knows how to complement others and can play both special team units. But he can also play plays.
Carter Hart was not his best. He put on a poor display from the crease that led to Crosby’s goal in the second half. This is an aspect of his game that’s still in progress: playing it with a disc of crease.
He saved 31 times in 34 shots.
• When Team Flyers signed Oscar Lindblom his new three-year extension of $ 9 million in July, General Manager Chuck Fletcher praised the 24-year-old winger for his „tremendous guidance to the team.“
„It’s always about the team,“ Fletcher said. „He’s always worried about others. He’s a hockey player from hell.“
On its second break, Lindblom had three blocked shots. Taking a bad one at the end of the tail of the third period and limping off the bench in pain. Once the period is over, Lindblom finally manages to make his way into the locker room with his own strength, accompanied by head coach Alain Vigneault and Flyers’ director of sports medicine Jim McCrossin.
Lindblom, who really deserved the moment to play this game and was placed in the top six of the Flyers, is back for the third game. He finished an assist when he was hit by the penguins as he wrestled in front of the net at Konikni.
• During the holiday season, Fletcher spoke highly of Eric Gustafsson’s ability to clear snow.
The off-season acquisition proved Fletcher wise very early on with a pair of strong play assists in the opening frame.
Gustafsson will take offensive risks (after all, that’s his job) and will have to show himself in the defensive zone, but he can deal out the disc.
The Flyers went 4-52 in strong play in the NHL Championship to return to 24 teams.
They were 2-for-2 on their first Wednesday break.
Farabee is not the only passenger who changes his number. Mark Friedman, who was originally wearing # 59, turned # 3. He had a healthy scratch on Wednesday but took snow in the warmth.
• Shayne Gostisbehere was not available due to the COVID protocol. Here is more on What will that mean for the season.
• The pilots and penguins returned to Friday at Wells Fargo Center (7 PM ET / NBCSP).
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